September 11: turns out it's also the day of the official festival of Catalunya. It's kind of an ironic celebration for a number of reasons. From what I understand, it is on this day in 1714 that the Catalán army was overthrown by the Franco-Spanish army (the Bourbons). Catalunya wanted a Habsburg ruler. So in effect, it is the celebration of a military loss. I should mention that I had to look up the word overthrow in my spanish-english dictionary because the only word that came to mind was derrumbar. So yes—Catalunya celebrates a military loss. I can understand that the people are proud of the fight their ancestors put up in the name of freedom, but it's a bit as if they ar e saying, if we HAD won on this day, we WOULD be celebrating our independence, so let's just celebrate it anyway. There were flags all over the city. The plain yellow/red striped flag is the recognized flag of Catalunya, while the one with the blue and the star is a flag of Catalunya independence, which isn't nationally recognized. I should say, rather, SPAIN doesn't recognize it. In the late afternoon there was a huge demonstration—thousands of people marched through the streets, including a number of important political figures. Catalunya really wants its independence. (I can see the Monty Python version now:"If you want independence, you REALLY have to hate Spain." "I do!" "Oh yeah? How much?" "A lot!"-if you haven't seen Life of Brian, disregard text inside these parentheses) Unfortunately I did not get pictures of the demonstration. I didn't really want to draw attention to my american-ness by taking out a camera while surrounded by crowds of excitable people. At that point, I was with a Catalán friend, who explained the history and politics of it all to me. We walked through Born, in the Barri Gòtic, which is an important area of Catalunya national pride because it was built by the pueblo-literally, its inhabitants built the barrio themselves. Then we met up with some more of her friends near the Arc de Triomf, where some concerts were going on.